Former NBA player Kermit Washington, who is best remembered by many for a 1977 on-court brawl in which he landed a punch that fractured Rudy Tomjanovich’s face, was sentenced to six years in federal prison for charity fraud. Washington spent his career in the NBA with several teams, most notably with the Portland Trailblazers and Los Angeles Lakers. He was named to the All-Defensive team twice, and appeared on one All-Star team. When his playing days ended, Washington became a representative with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and chaired the charity he founded, The Sixth Man Foundation.
Washington was busted spending hundreds of thousands of dollars he raised for his foundation on vacations, plastic surgeries for his girlfriend, payments to at least one known prostitute, and shopping sprees according to the Oregonian. Prosecutors proved that he abused his position with his foundation for personal gain and as an arm for an alleged kickback scheme. Washington used his position with the NBPA to refer hurt players to San Diego lawyer Ronald Jack Mix. That is the same Mix that is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Mix would file workman’s comp claims for Washington’s referrals. Mix would then make “donations” to Washington’s foundation once the cases were resolved. The “donations” would range from $5,000 to $25,000 dollars, which Mix would then report as charitable contributions for the tax credit. Mix admitted to doing this for four years. Washington had other schemes going as well.
He defrauded a Maryland woman for over $80,000, which he also admits to using personally. Washington then confessed to using a string of false identities in several states in conjunction with schemes to divert money from his foundation, and to file false state and federal tax claims. As reported on Deadspin, The Sixth Man Foundation did business as Project Contact Africa, which was supposed to be helping fund medical clinics, advance education, and pay for medicine for impoverished areas of Africa.
As if that wasn’t enough, Washington also sold around $12 million worth of items on eBay through his charity, which means that eBay waived the fees and lost out on over $900,000. No final figure on the amount that Washington diverted from his charity or otherwise obtained illegally was released by the Justice Department.
Washington was found guilty of making a false statement on an IRS form and aggravated identity theft. It has not been publicly released where Washington will do his six years. He was further ordered to pay $970,000 in restitution. Mix was also found guilty as a part of the fraudulent activity and sentenced to time served. No other details regarding other parties have been made public as of yet.